WHERE ARE THEY NOW: 'Project Runway' hosts and judges

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Project RunwayAn iconic squad of ‘Project Runway’ hosts and judges: Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Zac Posen.
  • In “Project Runway,” designers compete against each other for a grand prize, which gives them an opportunity to start their own fashion line.
  • The show premiered in 2004 and season 18 begins in December.
  • In 2018, contestant mentor Tim Gunn and host Heidi Klum, who were with the series since its inception, announced they were leaving “Project Runway.”
  • Klum and Gunn are now working on a new show, “Making The Cut,” which premieres on Amazon in 2020.

Whether you’ve watched “Project Runway” since season one or have become a recent fan of the high-stakes, high-fashion TV series, you’re probably familiar with what it means to “make it work,” and you may or may not get a little too excited when the designers get 30 minutes to pick their textiles at Mood fabric store.

One thing is obvious about the fashion competition reality show “Project Runway,” though: It wouldn’t be anything without the personas that are its judges and hosts.

“Project Runway” premiered in 2004 on Bravo, and its original host was Heidi Klum. The original judges were Nina Garcia, now the editor-in-chief of ELLE, and fashion designer Michael Kors. Tim Gunn was the contestants’ mentor. The show was on Bravo from 2004 to 2008, then it was shown on Lifetime from 2009 through 2017. It made its return to Bravo for season 17, which premiered in 2019, and season 18 begins December 5.

Through the years, the show has changed, and so have the hosts and judges. Even Tim Gunn, whose “make it work” mantra became an iconic part of the franchise, left the show after the 16th season.

Keep reading for a look at the show’s current panel of judges, as well as a look at where the originals are now.


Tim Gunn joined “Project Runway” in 2004 as a mentor to the designers.

Virginia Sherwood/NBC NewsWire via Getty ImagesTim Gunn in 2004.

Tim Gunn joined “Project Runway” as a mentor to the show’s contestants in 2004, according to Bravo.

Prior to his on-air role, he worked as chief creative officer at fashion company Liz Claiborne Inc., and he’s also taught at Parsons the New School of Design, according to an AdWeek interview.

Early on in “Project Runway,” Gunn became known for his “make it work” mantra. In season two, one contestant, Santino Rice, was caught impersonating Gunn and his now-iconic sayings in the designer’s workroom.


Gunn left “Project Runway” before season 17 premiered in 2018, but he still has more “make it work” moments up his sleeves.

John Lamparski/Getty ImagesTim Gunn in 2018.

In 2018, Tim Gunn announced his departure from “Project Runway” after 16 seasons of inspiring and guiding the show’s contestants.

In a statement to Bravo, he said: “I am grateful to ‘Project Runway’ for putting me on a path I never, in my wildest dreams, thought my career would take me!”

He also hinted at future endeavours, saying: “‘Runway’ has led to incredible opportunities and I am currently at work on some new projects that I am very excited to share with you soon. I wish the show and everyone much success always.”

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn have been collaborating on a new fashion competition series for Amazon, called “Making the Cut,” which is going to be released in 2020.


Heidi Klum was the host of “Project Runway.”

Mark Mainz/Getty ImagesHeidi Klum in 2005.

Former supermodel and Victoria’s Secret Angel Heidi Klum joined “Project Runway” in its first season in 2004 as its host and one of the judges.


Heidi Klum is currently working on a new show with Tim Gunn.

Photo by Gotham/GC Images via Getty ImagesHeidi Klum in 2017.

Since joining “Project Runway” as a host, Klum has taken on other business ventures and roles, like hosting “America’s Got Talent” and partnering with grocery chain Lidl on her clothing line, Esmera by Heidi Klum, according to Forbes.

In September 2018, Klum made a post on Instagram where she announced her farewell to “Project Runway.”

“After 16 incredible seasons, I am saying ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to ‘Project Runway,’ a show that I was honoured to host and help create,” she wrote in the post.

Her Instagram caption also announced her next journey with Tim Gunn: “I’m most excited that my journey with my dear friend and colleague, @timgunn, is far from over. We will be partnering with Amazon for a new show, and we’re excited for everyone to see what we’re designing next!”

“Making the Cut,” which filmed its first episode in Paris this summer, pits 12 entreprenuers and designers against each other as they compete to take their brands to the next level. The winner will get $US1 million for their company.


Designer Michael Kors was an outspoken judge on “Project Runway” for 10 seasons.

Nick Ruedel/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesMichael Kors pictured for season one of ‘Project Runway.’

Michael Kors entertained fans for 10 seasons of “Project Runway” with his brutally honest critiques of contestants’ designs.


Michael Kors left a legacy of quotable moments on “Project Runway” and continues to design for his eponymous fashion label.

Taylor Hill/FilmMagic via Getty ImagesMichael Kors in June 2019.

Kors told People in a 2018 interview that he was supportive of the new “Project Runway” hosts and judges who were announced for season 17.

He continues to lead his fashion brand, Michael Kors, as the chief creative officer.


Nina Garcia was the fashion director at ELLE magazine when she first joined “Project Runway” as a judge in 2004.

Neil Rasmus/Patrick McMullan via Getty ImagesNina Garcia in 2005.

In April 2008, Garcia became editor-at-large at ELLE, and in 2012, was named creative director of Marie Claire. In 2017, she returned to ELLE as editor-in-chief.

In an interview with The Cut, Garcia said, “‘Project Runway’ came at a pivotal moment in my career. The show was like the eye of the storm.”


Nina Garcia, now editor-in-chief at ELLE, continues to judge on “Project Runway.”

Miller Mobley/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesNina Garcia’s ‘Project Runway’ Season 17 photo.

Garcia has been judging on “Project Runway” since 2004. She is the only original judge to continue on the show, but based on her social media posts, she and former “Project Runway” co-judge Michael Kors remain close friends.


Zac Posen replaced Michael Kors as a judge on season 11.

Barbara Nitke/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesZac Posen as a guest judge on ‘Project Runway’ in 2008.

Fashion designer Zac Posen replaced Michael Kors as the fashion designer judge on “Project Runway” starting in season 11.

He was also a guest judge on the third and fourth seasons of “Project Runway,” according to the Hollywood Reporter, and he judged on “Project Runway All Stars” from 2014 to 2018.


Zac Posen left “Project Runway” on season 16 and recently closed his fashion label.

Raymond Hall/GC Images via Getty ImagesZac Posen in March 2019.

Zac Posen’s last season as a judge on “Project Runway” was season 16, which was also the show’s final season with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.

In a statement published on Bravo’s website, Zac Posen said: “Working alongside Heidi, Nina, and Tim as a judge for six seasons of ‘Project Runway’ was one of the greatest experiences of my career. I will cherish the opportunity the show gave me to learn from and grow with my co-judges, the producers, crew, and designers.”

In 2016, he collaborated with Delta Airlines to design new uniforms, according to the Zac Posen official website.

In November 2019, he announced he was shutting down his fashion label, which he’d started in 2001.


Supermodel Karlie Kloss took over “Project Runway” hosting duties after Heidi Klum.

Barbara Nitke/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesKarlie Kloss in 2019.

The show’s new host, Karlie Kloss, kicked off season 17 and its return to Bravo, according to Variety. She will be at the helm again in season 18. Kloss is a supermodel who’s also known for her organisation,Kode With Klossy, which creates opportunities for young women to learn how to code.


Christian Siriano, who won “Project Runway” in season four, is now a mentor on the show.

Miller Mobley/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesChristian Siriano in 2019.

Christian Siriano was just 22 when he won season four of “Project Runway.” Now, the award-winning designer is the one telling contestants how to “make it work” in his role as a mentor to the show’s contestants.

Fans who remember Siriano when he was on “Project Runway” as a contestant know his catchphrase is describing successful fashions as “fierce.” Someone even made this YouTube video of Siriano saying the word 46 times throughout season four of the show.


Journalist Elaine Welteroth joins Nina Garcia as a “Project Runway” judge with a background in media.

Noam Galai/WireImage via Getty ImagesElaine Welteroth in 2019.

Former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth joined the “Project Runway” panel of judges for season 17, according to Bravo. She will return for season 18.


Designer Brandon Maxwell, whose clothes have been worn by Meghan Markle and Michelle Obama, is also a judge on “Project Runway.”

Dominik Bindl/Getty ImagesBrandon Maxwell in 2019.

Designer Brandon Maxwell launched his line of women’s ready-to-wear fashions in 2015, according to Bravo. His designs have been worn by Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama, and Oprah, and he joined the “Project Runway” judges panel for season 17.


In the words of Heidi Klum, “in fashion, one day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.”

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty ImagesMichael Kors, Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Zac Posen.

While most of the show’s original star judges have left, the current group of judges and hosts prove the show must go on. “Project Runway” fans will always have memories of their favourite judges from the earlier seasons of the show. Seasons eight through 16 are available for streaming on Hulu, and season 18 returns December 5.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.